Ariz. vets services boss out after controversial comments about women in combat

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A former Arizona lawmaker is at the center of a controversy causing the resignation of the top official at the Department of Veterans Services.

Colonel Joey Strickland stepped down from his five year post as head of veterans services after derogatory comments about women in combat made by Terri Proud, a controversial figure in Arizona politics Strickland recently hired.

Proud came under fire this week after a report by the Arizona-Sonora New Service – U of A’s student publication – reported that Proud said the female menstrual cycle would hinder a woman’s ability to perform on the front lines.

"Women have certain things during the month I'm not sure they should be out there dealing with. I don't know how to address that topic in a very diplomatic manner," the article quoted Proud as saying.

She told 3TV, however, that her comments were taken out of context.

“If that's the excuse then hell, I'm not going to clean the house because I'm on my menstrual cycle” Proud sarcastically told 3TV.  “You see what I’m saying?  That's how absurd [the misquote] is… I am 41 frickin’ years old and to even say something in that context is asinine.”

Proud told 3TV she was actually trying to advocate for women in combat by bringing up questions the Pentagon needs to address to ensure women’s needs are met while on the front lines.

"A woman wouldn't, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, be allowed on the front lines.  I think that is great progress for women to be able to achieve that.  Now my question is, ‘how is the military going to accommodate women now?'” the former Tucson lawmaker told 3TV in a Wednesday interview over the phone.

The context of her comments, however, apparently didn’t matter to Governor Jan Brewer.  A Brewer spokesman said the governor told Col. Strickland not to hire Proud one year ago.

"The colonel knows what it means to disobey a direct order," said Brewer spokesman Matt Benson.

Benson didn’t elaborate on why the governor didn’t want Proud in veteran’s services.

Proud told 3TV she also didn’t know why the governor was against her having the job and that she had only met Gov. Brewer once during her time in the state legislature.